The Stanley Hotel Opens a $10 Million Performance Venue

The Pavilion Amphitheater wraps around a pond and granite rocks with waterfall features.
Courtesy of the Stanley Hotel
The Pavilion Amphitheater wraps around a pond and granite rocks with waterfall features.
Cascading waterfalls over granite rocks. An 11,000-pound hydraulic glass door engineered to open outward at 90 degrees. Three hundred amphitheater-style seats, both indoors and out, that wrap around a freshwater pond and allow occupants to gaze upon the Rocky Mountains...

These are some of the features of the brand-new “Pavilion Amphitheater” at the Stanley Hotel, the historic lodge in Estes Park that famously inspired Stephen King’s The Shining.

The $10 million performance space is the latest offering from the Stanley’s owner, John Cullen, who has expanded the legendary hotel into something of a cultural hub in Estes Park, drawing musicians, writers and performers.

“The Pavilion Amphitheater is a bridge between our entertainment past and future. We’re building on 109 years of cultural heritage and creating a space for the next generation of artists and audiences to connect,” says Reed Rowley, vice president of Cullen’s management company.

Even before the introduction of the Pavilion, the Stanley under Cullen has been bullish about developing a reputation for entertainment offerings. Some of those attempts, such as an annual horror-film festival, have fallen through, but others — like the annual residency by the band Murder by Death (which played five sold-out nights in the hotel’s historic concert hall last month) — have caught on.

The Stanley is trying out another concept this month with its inaugural Stan Jam bluegrass festival, which the hotel hopes will develop its own distinctive following and cache in a state already rife with bluegrass gatherings. The new Pavilion space will be utilized briefly during that festival, which takes place on February 23 and 24, for a guided yoga session.

click to enlarge A shot of the main auditorium, with its hydraulic glass door, in the Pavilion complex - COURTESY OF THE STANLEY HOTEL
A shot of the main auditorium, with its hydraulic glass door, in the Pavilion complex
Courtesy of the Stanley Hotel
But the first dedicated events hosted in the Pavilion Amphitheater are a pair comedy shows headlined by Jim Breuer and Tom Papa that begin — appropriately enough — on April 20.

Breuer will headline two shows on April 20, and Papa will headline a pair of sets on April 21, according to a press release from the Stanley. The release also provides some information on the performers:

Breuer was named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Standups of All Time.” Today he tours the globe and is a regular presence on radio and television with a devoted audience of lifetime fans.

Saturday night’s headliner is Tom Papa, a comedian with over 20 years of standup experience, who is one of the top comedic voices in the country finding success in film, TV, radio, podcasts as well as on the live stage.

No matter who's performing, though, Rowley tells Westword that the Pavilion Amphitheater is a venue that’s worth checking out.

“The Pavilion is in a league of its own,” he says. “The custom architecture and intimate design, combined with a backdrop looking into Rocky Mountain National Park, makes the space impossible to replicate. Add the fact that guests can walk from their hotel rooms to the show and grab a drink in the whiskey bar after, and you’ve got a recipe for an unforgettable experience."

For more information about events at the Stanley, visit the website of its entertainment arm, Stanley Live.